Few people have had the sort of front-row seat to the rise of electric vehicles as JB Straubel. The softly spoken engineer is often considered the brains behind Tesla: it was Straubel who convinced Elon Musk, over lunch in 2003, that electric vehicles had a future. He then served as chief technology officer for 15 years, designing Tesla’s first batteries, managing construction of its network of charging stations and leading development of the Gigafactory in Nevada. When he departed in 2019, Musk’s biographer Ashlee Vance said Tesla had not only lost a founder, but “a piece of its soul”.
Battery joint ventures have become the hot must-have deal for automakers that have set ambitious targets to deliver millions of electric vehicles in the next few years.
Next-generation materials company Sila Nanotechnologies is ranked among the Top 50 Best Leadership Teams 2021: Small/Mid-Sized Companies by Comparably, placing them in the top 10% of similarly sized companies on the site. This designation marks the second award from Comparably in 2021, as Sila Nanotechnologies CEO, Gene Berdichevsky was ranked 17th in the Top 50 CEOS for Diversity 2021: Small/Mid-Sized Companies, putting him in the top 5% of all CEOs from June 23, 2020, to June 23, 2021.
In 1980, John Goodenough, an American professor running the inorganic chemistry lab at Oxford University, discovered the lithium-cobalt-oxide cathode, a battery electrode whose unusual capacity to store energy vastly eclipsed anything invented before then.
It’s hard to believe that before coming to Georgia Tech, Gleb Yushin had never worked with batteries. Nearly 15 years later, his materials research is enabling space travel, revolutionizing the automotive industry, and contributing to clean, sustainable energy systems.
Gene Berdichevsky, the former battery systems architect for the Tesla Roadster and now founder and chief executive of Sila Nanotechnologies Inc., an Alameda, Calif.-based company working to improve battery technology, said lowering the cost of storage to $50 per kilowatt-hour could be worth half a trillion dollars. “There’s going to be an immense amount of scientific ingenuity applied to it,” he said.
Sila Nanotechnologies, a Silicon Valley startup, is among the latest to attract Wall Street backing as supply-chain investors see enthusiasm for electric vehicles
The next-generation battery pioneer will begin development of a new 100 GWh plant to serve automotive customers
Sila Nano plans to use the funds to hire another 100 people this year and begin to buildout a factory in North America capable of producing 100 gigawatt-hours of silicon-based anode material, which is used in batteries for the smartphone and automotive industries